Greenpeace Statement on U.S. Announcement in Support of Endangered Species Listing for Bluefin Tuna

July 6, 2010

Responding to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announcement today in support of an international ban on trade in bluefin tuna through a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix One listing, Greenpeace U.S. issued the following statement from oceans campaign director, John Hocevar:

"Greenpeace applauds the announcement today by the U.S. in support of an international ban on trade of bluefin tuna. This is great news for the oceans, and exactly the kind of science-based leadership we hoped for from President Obama's administration. Bluefin tuna have been mismanaged to the brink of extinction and a ban on international trade is critical to the recovery of the species.

"Overfishing has radically transformed our oceans. Over 90 percent of the large fish - including bluefin tuna - have been caught and eaten, causing changes to marine ecosystems that we have not begun to understand.  A more precautionary, ecosystem- based approach to fisheries management is needed.

"A CITES listing is not management, it is a last ditch effort to prevent extinction. Greenpeace supports the call for a network of fully protected marine reserves to provide populations of fish and other marine life the resilience they will need to survive the impacts of fishing, acidification, and global warming.

"Fishermen have been catching bluefin tuna for thousands of years, but it is only in the past few decades that this has become a threat to the species' survival. Illegal fishing, greed, and a refusal to adhere to scientists' recommendations about maximum sustainable catch limits have devastated the bluefin population as well as many fishing communities on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Today, bluefin caught in the Mediterranean are too small to bring to market, so they are towed to ranches to be fattened up for sale. Fishermen whose families have fished bluefin for generations are reduced to towing bluefin caught by the enormous commercial operations that destroyed their livelihoods and nearly wiped out the species.

"The fate of one of the world's most spectacular creatures, a warm-blooded fish the size of a small elephant capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, will be determined this month.  An international trade ban may be the bluefin's last chance."  

VVPR info: Contact: Jane Kochersperger, Media Officer, Greenpeace, 202-680-3798; ;John Hocevar, Oceans Campaign Director, Greenpeace U.S., 512-577-3868,

Notes: For photos: Contact: Tim Aubry, Greenpeace Visuals Director,

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